STV Sport sponsored by Papa Johns

McPake: Presence of large Celtic support will also boost Dundee

There will be 24,500 home fans at Celtic Park on Sunday.

McPake: Presence of large Celtic support will also boost Dundee SNS Group

Dundee manager James McPake believes the presence of a large Celtic support will help his players at Parkhead on Sunday.

There will be 24,500 Hoops fans inside the stadium, the biggest crowd in Scotland for close to 18 months.

No Dundee fans will be permitted but Scotland is edging back towards the absence of crowd limits, although some local authorities might insist on some restrictions.

McPake has felt a major difference with supporters back in recent weeks with Dundee allowed 4,000 in for their opening cinch Premiership clash with St Mirren.

“It has been noticeable,” he said. “The fans getting in last week was fantastic. On Sunday there will be an even bigger crowd.

“These lads have all played in front of crowds of that size before or bigger so it won’t faze them.

“Will it edge them on? Of course it will. The atmosphere will help the Celtic players, the atmosphere will help the Dundee players.

“I know it sounds daft but it became pretty normal playing in front of no fans. And now you get that buzz.

“We got that buzz when we played in front of fans at the play-off final against Kilmarnock – that was brilliant.

“We want fans back, whether you are home or away, because they make a massive difference to football. We know that and we can see that.”

McPake, who has lost striker Danny Mullen to an ankle injury, added: “It’s a big game for our club. It’s one of the reasons we wanted to be back in the Premiership, to go to venues like this because they are fantastic places to play football.

“It’s 11 against 11 and we want to go there and put a stamp on the game.”